Reviews for Delusion
Booklist Reviews 2013 February #2
In Sullivan's erratic but irresistible historical fantasy, two sisters accustomed to a glitzy life as stage magicians find magic and romance (the real, not illusory, kind) in the English countryside during WWII. During the Blitz, Phil and Fee Albion are sent to the small town of Bittersweet. Fee has idealized notions of pastoral life, like the depictions in her favorite novels, while Phil is determined to aid the war effort by mobilizing the village. On her mission to create a home guard, Phil discovers a hidden all-male magician school, where the men seem alarmed that she can see through their spells. Fee easily finds love, but Phil's path to romance with an arrogant young magician is rockier, complicated by her insistence that the school use its magic against the Germans. Sullivan depends heavily on cumbersome exposition, and moments of theatrical frivolousness jar with the story's evocative exploration of right and wrong during wartime. Still, this is a moving, colorful story for history and fantasy buffs alike. Copyright 2012 Booklist Reviews.
Horn Book Guide Reviews 2013 Fall
Sent from London to escape the Blitz during WWII, stage magicians and twin sisters Phil and Fee Albion discover the hamlet of Bittersweet isn't doing its part for the war. The reason: the Stour, a college of actual magicians, is using the town for camouflage. Much intrigue and romance transpires as the feisty sisters fight off German infiltrator magicians in this rousing fantasy.
Kirkus Reviews 2012 December #1
Their public debut canceled by the London Blitz, beautiful stage illusionists Phil and Fee Albion, sisters, are sent by their anxious parents to sit out World War II in the village of Bittersweet. That suits Fee, but Phil longs to contribute to the war effort and, finding the locals oddly indifferent, enlists help from a nearby magicians' college. After spells worked against the girls fail, they're reluctantly granted access to college secrets and the magicians (some attractive) who keep them; love blossoms. Fans of American mysteries set in England will appreciate the gauzy Anglophilia, though it jars with other elements. Even briefly referenced, the Holocaust generates its own dense atmosphere through which fantasy elements like the war's possible magical origins can appear heartless and trivial. Unfolding in omniscient third-person, this flawed but vivid and original fantasy makes a refreshing change from me-centered, first-person, present-intense narration. The unpredictable plot and abrupt shifts in tone--arch and mannered, harsh and elegiac--keep readers off balance, forcing them to consider unsettling but resonant questions. Is violence ever justified? Can its use annihilate life's interconnectedness? Sullivan's learning to manage her unique imagination, but when thickening plot and rising tension cry out for action, she relies on exposition, narrating events from a safe psychic distance. Quirky, intense, moving--an exasperating gem. (Historical fantasy. 12 & up) Copyright Kirkus 2012 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.
Library Media Connection Reviews 2013 January/February
Sisters Phil and Fee Albion have grown up in the world of magic with their show business family. When the Nazi bombings of London begin, the teen sisters are sent to a bucolic village for their safety. In Bittersweet, Phil discovers an ancient college of magic, hidden for centuries. At first the members are dumbfounded as to why the girls can see their magic, but that quickly turns to anger when they discover that the girls' ancestor had been a traitor to the magical world. While the premise is good, the book struggles to find its identity-it is not quite a fantasy and not quite historical fiction. Laurie Balderson, English Teacher, Hamilton-Holmes Middle School, King William, Virginia [Editor's Note: Available in e-book format.] ADDITIONAL SELECTION Copyright 2012 Linworth Publishing, Inc.
School Library Journal Reviews 2013 February
Gr 9-11--Seventeen-year-old twins Fee and Phil come from a family of illusionists. On the night of their grand debut at the Hall of Delusion, the girls intend to dazzle the audience with an illusion months in the making. However, they find themselves performing in the midst of the London blitz. After the air-raid, everyone is eager to contribute to the war effort. Phil's fiancÚ joins the service, her brother and parents enlist in a unit tasked with befuddling the Germans, and Phil herself is dead set on joining the Home Guard. But the safe country community that she and her sister are sent to has no Home Guard. Desperate to be of some help, the siblings start their own organization. In search of proper training grounds, they stumble across the College of Drycraeft, a school for magicians. But these magicians are nothing like the ones the girls grew up with; they use real magic. Delusion is well paced and has enough romance, action, and magic to keep readers engaged. Drycraeft is no Hogwarts, but Sullivan's humor makes up for the lackluster castle scenes. An ideal choice for libraries looking to bulk up their fantasy sections with something truly original.--Jennifer Furuyama, Pendleton Public Library, OR [Page 114]. (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
VOYA Reviews 2013 April
Sullivan takes the intrigue of magic and blends it with WWII and the war effort in England. The Albion girls, Phil and Fee, are magicians at the Hall of Delusion with their parents and siblings when London is bombed during the London Blitz. They are sent away to the country to be safe from the threat of the Nazis, but while they are there they meet "real" magicians, manage to fall in love, tap into their own true magical abilities, and help fight the Nazis. The girls, especially Phil, are interesting characters and make strong female protagonists. Sullivan's use of magic is a nice twist on the fight against the Nazis and spurs interest into the idea and possibly research about the Nazi regime and the occult. While the premise is about the war effort and using magic to fight the Nazis, what really propels the story is Phil and her love interest, a very strong magician from the College of Drycraeft named Master Arden. Phil and Arden have a very volatile relationship that grows over time Although the story takes place during WWII in England, it does not really feel like a WWII novel. If not for the mention of the Nazis, the story could almost be timeless. This is more of a good love story than it is a glimpse into WWII. This is a fun read for young girls, especially those who like strong female protagonists, young love, and magic.--Lona Trulove 3Q 3P M J Copyright 2011 Voya Reviews.